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Old June 11th 04, 08:56 PM
Mathieu Peyréga
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Default Provence this September


here is some French Guy advice/experience about bike+train...

first, you can check the french
page made by a french association : the Federation of Users of BICYcles
which gave a very bad grade to SNCF for ther bike service...

SNCF which is the national company for railway transportation have a
very bad reputation about their capability to transport bikes... and
they deserve it...

In TGV-Méditerranée (high speed trains in south of France) you have a
special part in two of the train-cars. In those, you can hang your bike
without any protection.
You have to pay a small fee : 10 euro and reserve this service as their
is only a few available spots in each train (4 to 6 bikes).
However, last time i used it, the web system did not allow to specify
and pay for this option... thus making the service free (i never paid
for it)!
Especially if you don't speak french, the 100% probability that you'll
have a non or bad english speaking control agent will let you free of
charge, just be kind with him and tell that in your contry it's free
(c'esy gratuit dans mon pays) (even if it's not...)
You could still buy your ticket at the gare de Lyon Station once in
Paris and be sure to get a place for your bike. But you are travelling
outside the rush period so you should have no availability issue.

The problem is then that you usually like to have a seat in the same car
than the one where youre bike is... which you cannot choose... One plan
if you buy your ticket at the station is to buy tickets until you got a
winning one in car 7 or 17 which if i remeber well are the car with the
bike spots... Then get the other one refurbished... You'll probably get
the sell-agent angry but it is one of them who told me to do so once !

Last chance is that you can alway and for free have your bike on the
train if you put it in a protective luggage whose dimension should not
exceed 120 cm x 90 cm

It's true that after Madrid bombing, some problem with luggage
compartment occured but there is an official letter from SNCF head
confirming that bikes are allowed in trains... and that stations should
not refuse to sell this service.

From CDG airport to Gare de Lyon station, i recommand you the RER B
(Paris by train signs at the airport) up to chatelet les halles stations
and then line RER A up to gare de lyon station. Bikes are allowed in the
RER trains for free.

Please avoid the separate delivery of your bike to your final
destination... that should just be another source of potential issues !
(especially with SERNAM which is the company which have deals with SNCF)

Anyway, i'm sure you'll manage to carry your bike with you, that you'll
hate SNCF after that, but that you'll enjoy your trip in Provence very
much despite this previsible "bad start" !

Concerning your stay in Paris, there are a few camp site very close to Paris
(there is a nice one in the town where i live : Maisons-Laffite, which i
25 minutes from the "hearth center of Paris" by the RER A train where
you'll be able to get with your bike if you'd like to experience biking
in Paris).

If you have some more precise questions, i can try and answer them.




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